Truck swap helps county

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Marengo County Commission hopes to turn old trucks into new money.

The commission approved a bid Tuesday from Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers to purchase eight trucks for $819,330. The additional money, also allowed the commission to look at adding equipment.

The commission recently accepted bids for a new truck and Tuesday, accepted Gulf Coast Mack’s bid of $89,571. The truck will offer a 370-405 engine without options except for Jake Brake and because of its engine type, will bring greater resale value.

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Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead said he has discussed the purchase and it looked to be the best deal in the long run.

“I have talked to people in the trucking business,” Armstead said. “They said the resale value on it is going to make a big difference.”

Commissioner Ken Tucker said the price was not the only factor in the acceptance of the bid.

“In addition to cost, it seems to me there are other things that should be considered,” Tucker said. “We need to look at cost, look at fuel economy, look at resale value and take those factors together. My understanding is that with the greater fuel economy and better resale value, we would actually save money in the long run.”

Once the bid was approved, County Engineer Ken Atkins asked the commission to approve an option for the truck. Atkins said the addition of a triaxle would help the county accomplish more work in less time.

“On the options, one of the things I wanted to look at was a triaxle,” Atkins said. “We made money on the other trucks and we are hauling asphalt. A tandem hauls 20 tons and a triaxle hauls 25 on a round.”

In the summer, Atkins said, this can mean an additional round of asphalt and an even higher resale value.

“On a round right now we are getting 160 tons,” Atkins said. “With a tri-axle we will get 200 per round. In the resale, the tri-axle is going to come back a lot and I think that is the way to go.”

The addition did not get support from every commissioner. Commissioner Max Joiner said he would like to have seen the tri-axle in the original proposal because it could have changed some of the bids.

“Why would we bid on a truck that wasn’t going to be acceptable and go through all the specs and then turn around and do something different after we take the bid,” Joiner asked. “That’s not the way I would do it.”

With the tri-axle, the trucks cost grew to $93,871. However, the commission still agreed 4 to 1 this was the best decision for the county.

Earlier in the meeting, Harriet’s House Executive Director Susanna Naisbett brought good news for the county and her organization. Naisbett said Harriet’s House stood to benefit from grant money that was on a strict spend or return time limit.

“ADECCA called Harriet’s House up and said they had $8,841.27 that they wanted us to help them spend so they wouldn’t have to send it back at the end of the year,” Naisbett said. “What this means is it is 2003 money that they have five years to spend it. They have the authority to re-open that and that is what they are doing.”

Naisbett said they would revise the grant budget to include money for Harriet’s House